Sunday, August 23, 2009
Horses are pretty finicky about what they eat in the pasture.They keep it trimmed down pretty nice but by & by the not so tasty weeds will begin to stand out and grow taller & taller.My sheep have the same menue tastes as well.I decided, last year,to add goats to our menagerie for weed control.Burt & Ernie are 2 Nubian wethers (castrated males)we bought from a rescue .I was shocked at their size (big boys!) but was relieved at their gentleness.Very pleasant fellows.I think the inspiration for the Star Wars character,'Ja-Ja Binks', came from Nubians.So, this year the pasture is weed free and looks tidy. They stay glued to the horses,probably for protection.Wherever the horses are, that's where you will find Bert & Ernie.The sheep are more independant minded and seem to only need each other.Nubians are fine dairy goats, but a wether is only good for a pet,for pulling a cart or for grass & weed control .
Then there are the horned non-castrated boys! This fellow scoured the turf around my Uncle Charlie's barn in 1973.He was kept leashed to a cinder block to limit his wanderings.
Last year I had a little Pygmy billy goat.He quietly walked about with the utmost confidence,sniffing and nibbling at this plant & that,stopping periodically to stare at you with those slit pupils & 'take you in'.The barn has a cement foundation that juts out that made a perfect sharpening tool for his horns.At first I thought he was just scratching his itchy head until I realized he was actually sharpening one edge, then the other edge of each horn, the same as you would sharpen a kitchen knife.He was quite skilled at this.He was able to slip under the gates of the pasture then begin decimating the fruit trees.He was collared, so I attempted to grab it & snap a leash on him to return him to the pasture.He was ready for me! Two quick moves and my forearm & wrist were battle scarred ! He stood there quietly staring, daring me to 'Try it again'. Zap!! He got me again with my next attempt."He's not going to get away with this!", I said. I grabbed a small wooden trellis that lay nearby & smacked him with it.YO-HO !! The battle was on!! Any whack to the head of any ram (goat or sheep) is all out war.The next thing I knew he was standing tall on his back legs ,his front hooves up high like boxing gloves and he leapt 3 times toward me.Then he quick as lightening dropped his head and charged! All battering ram~but I still had the trellis and blocked the attack with the grace of a bullfighter! El Toro!! I could hear the crowds cheering as we both spun around to face each other once more! I suddenly remembered advice from a goat forum I read on a website that warned to avoid hitting their heads.Instead, wrestle them to the ground, lay across them & pin them down.Before little Hershey could regain his stance I rushed him, crossed my forearms over the wrists & grabbed him by the horns twisting them and flipping him over.He was down and I was on top of him holding him there by the horns.Those yellow slit eyes glared at me.It took about 5 minutes before I could regain my breath, then I said,"WHO's The Boss ? HUH?? Who's The Boss ?? ME !! That's Who!!" My daughter was working in the garden picking beans, watching this fiasco the whole time. She yelled,"Are you having fun Mom?" ~~~hhmmmmm ! :)
Yes, I think I was having fun! But a goat has 24/7 to rethink a battle plan whereas I have no time for this. I placed an add on Craigslist & shortly after Hershey moved to a nearby farm where he had his own little harem of Boar doe's .Happy ending (:>
Here is a fun test of Reaction Time: catching Sheep